Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, confirmed as Minister of HealthFollowing weeks of delay and reported intensive closed-door lobbying, the plenary of the Senate at its 19th day sitting yesterday received a report from its Committee on Health, Gender, Children, and Social Protection recommending the confirmation of Health Minister-designate Dr. Wilhemina Jallah.The Health Minister-designate had made two appearances before the Senate committee. At both appearances she refused to comment on the issue relating to the death during surgical operations of a female Prelate, Desiree Fahnbulleh, at her clinic. She had informed the lawmakers that her inability to address the issue was due to legal advice from her lawyer, as the matter is already in court.But during her last appearance, Dr. Jallah clarified that the death of Pastor Fahnbulleh was not intentional and that in fact, she had, like all medical practitioners, taken that very important oath to save lives, which she asserted she has done over a period of more than 30 years.Also recommended for confirmation by the Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture & Tourism was another controversial nominee, Eugene Fahngon, for the position of Deputy Minister for Public Affairs, Ministry of Information. Mr. Fahngon during his confirmation hearing had described the process as a mere formality, a statement many Senators did not take lightly.The committee on Agriculture also reported to plenary that the Minister of Agriculture-designate Mogana S. Flomo, Jr. during confirmation hearing and based on his educational background and experiences, deserves the plenary blessing.In total, according to the agenda of yesterday, plenary received over 35 nominees’ recommendations for confirmation, which was eventually taken in executive session.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The smartphone market in India has been quite crowded for a while. There are a lot of brands today itching to get a piece of it, especially in the highly popular budget and mid-range segments. It’s no longer just the tech companies pushing out devices, but we’re also seeing budget phones from telecom makers like Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone. E-commerce platforms are also getting into the mix with Amazon India launching the 10.or series this year and now Flipkart bringing its own smartphone , the Billion Capture+.As a debut smartphone, the Capture+ looks ambitious to take on current players in the lower mid-range segment. Priced at Rs 10,999 for the 3GB + 32GB version and Rs 12,999 for the 4GB and 64GB variant, the handset will take on the likes of the Moto G5, Redmi Note 4 and Amazon’s 10.or G, among others. Flipkart’s phone comes with everything you would expect in the price segment and looks good, at least on paper. But how well does it translate in real life?DesignIf you’ve seen Xiaomi’s Redmi 4 and Mi A1 then you’ve seen the Billion Capture+. Flipkart’s phone to a large extent borrows design cues from both the smartphones to some extent, which have become a sort of a gold standard in the budget segment. The Capture+ has an aluminium build, while the back has plastic on the top and bottom and a metal panel in the middle that feels smooth to the touch. Flipkart doesn’t mention the plastic back, but once you hold the phone you’ll find that the finish feels more plastic than premium. This makes it feel rather cheap, and the company could have provided a better metal finish like Xiaomi has with the Redmi Note 4. With that said, the Capture+ doesn’t look unattractive, but it doesn’t look inspiring either. advertisementThe Billion Capture+ does have sturdy build to it and the frame is pretty solid, but it is also a bit on the thicker side at 8.5mm. It’s mostly comfortable to hold and use with one hand, but it can feel a little heavy at 176 grams. The edges around the back are slightly curved and don’t seamlessly join the frame, but it does give a good grip when holding it. If you look around the frame, you’ll find the volume controls and power button on the right, a dual hybrid SIM tray on the left, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top and a USB Type-C port on the bottom with speaker grilles on either sides.DisplayThe Capture+ features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920) display with bezels around it. I mention bezels because we’re slowly moving towards edge-to-edge displays. While the trend started for high-end smartphones, we’ve seen 18:9 displays trickle down to budget phones like Micromax’s Infinity and LG Q6 already. Next year, you can expect more phones to sport full-screen displays. The Capture+ has a traditional 16:9 screen, which is alright because there still a market for it and there will be for at least a few more years. But bezels aside, displays in general have improved in recent times, and Flipkart’s phone leaves you wanting a little more. We’re seeing more and more budget smartphones coming with stock Android that makes the Capture+ look heavy in comparison Despite a full-HD display, the colours on screen are pretty dull and washed out. Moreover, the brightness levels aren’t great and even at its maximum brightness, you will find it difficult to read the screen outdoors. A dull display may help increase battery life, but it really doesn’t provide the best viewing experience, especially when watching videos. Moreover, you’re going to want to keep the brightness level on maximum when watching videos or playing games to enjoy the experience, which will inevitably cause more battery drain. Overall, this isn’t the brightest of sharpest display out there, which is a shame as its competitors like the Moto G5 and Redmi Note 4 do much better at producing crisp 1080p displays.Performance and softwareThe Billion Capture+ is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 506 GPU and coupled with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. I tested the 4GB variant and found that the overall performance to be pretty fluid and snappy. The phone is decent at multitasking and is quite fast at opening and closing apps without any lag or stutters. The phone will pretty much handle most daily apps that you throw at it including web browsing, messaging and social media.My experience with playing some graphic intensive games were quite uneven. At times I found games like Asphalt 8 to work smoothly, but I did notice some stuttering and drops in frame rate every now and then. Browsing through heavy websites and apps was smooth as well and I did not find anything to complain about here.advertisementThe phone runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and is powered by Smartron’s AI smarts. Despite the company’s promise of stock Android, the Billion Capture+ had a few too many pre-loaded apps for my liking, which will also disappoint many others. You get apps like Flipkart (obviously), Myntra, Ola, PhonePe, Microsoft’s Office suite and tronX app to name a few. The latter is a Smartron-powered service that includes purchasable products, cloud storage and security features. We’re seeing more and more budget smartphones including Amazon’s 10.or range coming with stock Android that makes the Capture+ look heavy in comparison. I’m also not confident the phone will age well in terms of performance as the bloatware will weigh it down eventually.The fingerprint sensor on the rear isn’t the fastest out there. It takes about 0.8 seconds to unlock which is quite slow and one expects a far snappier sensor in 2017 and at this price point. But the sensor is mostly accurate so there is some takeaway in that. The dual speakers on the bottom could have been a lot powerful, but you’re left wanting a little more punch to it.CameraOne of the biggest highlights of the Billion Capture+ is its dual rear camera system that comprises of a pair of 13-megapixel sensors, one RGB and one Monochrome and with f2.0 aperture. Dual rear cameras have become somewhat of a standard this year with almost every other smartphone from budget to high-end now sporting a dual camera system. Flipkart says the phone offers impressive low-light shots, more light in each frame and DSLR-like bokeh effects, among other things. It also comes with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.To be honest, the dual cameras were largely disappointing. Outdoor shots under bright sunlight lets in too much light and the images look overexposed. The reds and greens were too bright and lacked accuracy. The cameras also have a hard time focusing on the subject and you’ll likely capture a few hazy shots before one really clear image. The images also lack detailing so I wouldn’t suggest zooming in on them or seeing them on a display bigger than 5.5-inch. SInce the sensors let in a lot of light, it works better in low-light conditions. However, images captured in poor lighting will come with a lot of noise and will lack detail. XPreviousNextThe Portrait Mode was pretty underwhelming as well. The subject would look artificially laid on a blurred background, which makes it look photoshopped rather than seem like a natural depth of field image. This is probably because the bokehs generated rely on software, which isn’t great at differentiating the subject from the background. You’ll find that the subject will have heavy blurring around the edges or look cut out and artificially pasted on the background. There is a Supernight mode that you can use to capture low-light shots as it smoothes out the photos via software and removes a lot of noise. I found the feature to be pretty good and prefered using the mode almost always for low-light photography.advertisementFront camera disappoints as well, but perhaps not as much as the primary cameras. The 8-megapixel sensor looks good on paper, but doesn’t really work great in real life. Selfies captured were oversaturated and lacked sharpness. The colours looked on the warmer side of things and will look quite hazy when viewed on a larger display.BatteryThe other big highlight apart from the dual rear cameras is the battery. The Capture+ packs a large non-removable 3500mAh Li-Polymer battery that promises up to 30 hours of calls over 3G and 12 hours of video streaming. Now, my experience with this has been quite middling. On an average, streaming movies or TV shows on Netflix or videos on YouTube for an hour drops the battery level down by about 10 per cent. On an average, you should get about 9-10 hours of battery life, which is decent. I found myself needing to the charge the phone only once before going to bed. The phone takes about an hour and a half to charge from zero to 100 per cent, which is pretty fast considering its large battery capacity The headset supports Quick Charge over USB Type-C and it takes about an hour and a half to charge from zero to 100 per cent, which is pretty fast considering its large battery capacity. The only real problem I have is with the standby time. Considering the battery you’re getting, the standby time isn’t exceptional here and you’ll probably get about 4 days idle time on 4G before the phoned dies on you.Should you buy it?Flipkart’s entry in the smartphone game comes at a time when the market is quite crowded and some players like Motorola and Xiaomi are seated firmly in the budget to mid-range segment. Xiaomi, especially, has been dominating the budget to mid-range market in recent times and has invested a lot in advertising both online and offline as well. For Flipkart, the Billion Capture+ will largely ride on the e-commerce platform’s name. The company will need to promote the phone a lot more especially on its website if it wants to grab people’s attention.As far as competition is concerned, the Billion Capture+ will face off against the likes of the Moto G5, Redmi Note 4 and Amazon’s 10.or G to name a few. Flipkart has launched a decent first smartphone and provides a few compelling features such as good battery life, fast charging, a decent build and performance that could attract buyers. But the phone feels wanting in pretty much every other area such as design, camera and software, which makes it fall short in front of its competition, especially since most others offer near stock Android experience and have upped their camera game. Without proper marketing, the Capture+ risks getting shunned to the background.Flipkart will probably use the Capture+ to test the waters a little and see how consumers are reacting towards it. It may come out with a another phone that will look to fix some of the shortcomings of the Capture+ based on user feedback and I would suggest waiting for that one to arrive. The Billion Capture+ just isn’t compelling enough to buy right now considering what other brands have to offer today.Capture+ review7.5/10Good stuffDecent build qualitySnappy performanceGood battery lifeBad stuffUninspiring designPoor camerasBloated software
The Venable Consortium, a group of media industry associations lead by AAAA, IAB, ANA, DMA and backed by counsel providers Venable LLP, recently took a significant, proactive step in the release of its “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising.” The publication is important because it’s a direct response to a growing call for stricter control over the tracking of consumer behavior online.Up to now, publisher and advertiser trade groups were primarily concerned with keeping the FTC on the side of self-regulation, which it largely has been. Lately, however, lawmakers have become more vocal about introducing legislation that threatens the industry’s self-regulatory status.Congressman Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Communications, Technology and the Internet subcommittee, has made clear his intention to introduce legislation to bolster consumer privacy protection. “I have previously announced my desire to work with Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rush and Ranking Members Barton, Stearns and Radanovich to develop legislation this year extending to Internet users the assurance that their online experience is more secure,” he said in his opening statement during a joint hearing on behavioral advertising with the Communications and Consumer Protection Subcommittees last June.A Shift Away From Self-Regulation? Currently, the Internet publishing and advertising industry is operating in a self-regulated environment, but online behavioral tracking is being used to ever-growing degrees—from large ad networks of unaffiliated sites to specific vertical networks and down to single-publisher Web site networks and “related content” applications. “Part of what we’re doing with that cookie is enhancing the consumer experience,” says Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association, which, along with the MPA and ABM is part of the Venable Consortium. “It’s to make sure we’re delivering the right content. The advertising piece of it is very important, but so is educating the lawmakers on the fact that the technology is also used for a better user experience.”Congressman Boucher would like to see an opt-out practice introduced where consumers can opt out of first- and third-party use of their information—and then be able to opt in to third-party use.“If you had a first-party opt out, that would be a publisher-consumer relationship,” says Horan. “In that scenario, that Web site would need to provide the consumer with an option.”Introducing that option, goes the argument, could severely undermine an advertising business model that, says Horan, supports 90 percent of online revenues. “At the most extreme, a requirement for opt in could have a huge impact on the business model. Our ability to serve ads is the foundation of our ability to serve that model. It could have a significant impact.”Currently, consumers can opt out via Web sites such as NetworkAdvertising.org. The FTC, for starters, would like to see something more comprehensive. The “Self-Regulatory Principles” guidelines will attempt to take that further by educating consumers via more industry-developed Web sites and marketing campaigns, as well as “new links and disclosures on the Web page or advertisement where online behavioral advertising occurs.”The guidelines are the first step in bringing the advertising and content industries together on a defined set of principles. Next, says Horan, is a set of guidelines for the enforcement of those principles. All of this, she says, is aimed at proving to the FTC and the Hill that the industry is serious about protecting its self-regulation. SIDEBARWhat You Need to KnowRuth Day, chief privacy officer at UBM [pictured], notes the privacy principles published by the Venable group focus on unaffiliated, third-party ad networks. Publishers are considered first-party trackers, and the FTC is clear on that distinction and has essentially backed off any further privacy regulation of first-party tracking of consumers due to the clear, direct relationship. However, many publishers do display third-party online behavioral ads on their sites. For those of you, here’s what Day recommends you keep an eye on.Read the Guidelines—If you work with a third-party ad server, familiarize yourself with the principles to see what they mean for ads that are displayed on your site.Know Who You’re Dealing With—“Publishers need to know whether a third-party ad server displaying ads on its Web sites is part of a behavioral online network, with an appropriate representation in the contract or insertion order,” says Day.Who’s Responsible for What?—“Logically, the third-party ad server needs to be the party responsible for notice because it is the entity collecting information from the visitor to the publisher’s Web site,” adds Day.
[This story first appeared on sister site min.]The nearly one-month-old mystery of Jess Cagle’s successor as Entertainment Weekly editor was resolved on Feb. 10 when Cagle—who has doubled as People editor and EW editorial director since Jan. 13—announced the intra-Time Inc. hire of SI.com managing editor Matt Bean.He leaves one content-busy brand for another, with the post-Super Bowl SI in the midst of the Winter Olympics and about to embark on the Swimsuit issue’s 50th anniversary. EW will culminate its busy awards season with the Oscars on March 2.Bean came to SI and Time Inc. in Aug. 2012 from Rodale, where min digital media editor Steve Smith credited his stewardship for “developing one of the most ambitious and sophisticated mobile app programs of any magazine publisher.” As Men’s Health articles editor earlier during his eight-year stint, he oversaw theNational Magazine Award-nominated front-of-book section and spearheaded the launch of the first-to-market tablet edition in 2010. Being the on-air host of Spike TV’s adventure-sports driven The Playbook while at MH extended to Bean starting the SI Now daily live talk show.Said Cagle: “Matt’s arrival is a testament to Time Inc.’s confidence in EW. He is [an especially] talented editor well-suited to this unique brand, and it will be a thrill to see where he and the extraordinary staff take EW in the years to come.”
Now playing: Watch this: Apple We tested the Apple Watch EKG against a hospital EKG 1 Tags Mobile Gadgets Comment Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 reading • Apple and Stanford release Apple Watch heart study’s full results Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it • Apple and Stanford released the full results of their study on Saturday. Apple Before Apple announced the Apple Watch’s ability to perform echocardiograms on the go last year, it was working with Stanford University to study the technology. The Apple Heart Study enrolled 400,000 people. According to study results, presented Saturday, 2,000 of those participants received a notification about an irregular heart rhythm, which can be a sign of a larger problem, like atrial fibrillation. The sooner warning signs can be spotted, the sooner people can seek help. “Many participants sought medical advice following their irregular rhythm notification, using the information to have more meaningful conversations with their doctors,” Apple said in a press release.Fifty-seven percent of participants who received an irregular pulse notification went to the doctor. “The results of the Apple Heart Study highlight the potential role that innovative digital technology can play in creating more predictive and preventive health care,” said Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine. “Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning, as this study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes — a key goal of precision health.”In November, the ECG sensor gained support in WatchOS version 5.1.2. Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Share your voice See All 4:28 Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Apple
This story originally appeared on Reuters Amazon.com Inc has installed more than 15,000 robots across 10 U.S. warehouses, a move that promises to cut operating costs by one-fifth and get packages out the door more quickly in the run-up to Christmas.The orange 320-pound (145 kg) robots, which scoot around the floor on wheels, show how Amazon has adopted technology developed by Kiva Systems, a robotics company it bought for $775 million in 2012. Amazon showcased to media on Sunday ahead of Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.The robots are designed to help the leading U.S. online retailer speed the time it takes to deliver items to customers and better compete with brick-and-mortar stores, where the bulk of Americans still do their shopping.The robots also may help Amazon avoid the mishaps of last year’s holiday season, when a surge of packages overwhelmed shipping and logistics company UPS and delayed the arrival of Christmas presents around the globe. Amazon offered shipping refunds and $20 gift cards to compensate customers.Amazon deployed the robots this summer, ahead of the key holiday quarter, when the company typically books about one-third of its annual revenue. The updated warehouses are in five states — California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Washington.The move comes at a cost. Amazon estimated in June 2013 that it would spend about $46 million to install Kiva robots at its warehouse in Ruskin, Florida, including $26.1 million for the equipment, according to company filings to local government.The Kiva robots have allowed Amazon to hold about 50 percent more items and shorten the time it takes to offer same-day delivery in several areas, said Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer services.At Amazon’s warehouse in Tracy, California, workers stack goods in shelves carried by more than 1,500 Kiva robots, which use markings on the floor to navigate and form a “big block of inventory,” Clark said.Squeezing the racks of items closely together eliminates the need for workers to navigate aisles to collect items ordered by consumers. Now, a worker calls for specific items and the robot steers itself to their particular work station. Each robot can carry as much as 720 pounds.In some cases, the robots have allowed Amazon to get packages out the door in as little as 13 minutes from the pick stations, compared to about an hour and a half on average in older centers.”It’s certainly proving out that it’s justified itself,” Clark said of the Kiva acquisition. “We’re happy with the economics of it.”(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Keith Weir) 3 min read Register Now » December 1, 2014 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
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